Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) plays a key role in China's response to the health needs and expectations of its population. In 2009 the Chinese State promulgated a guideline on TCM development, the guideline stresses equal weight given to TCM and Western medicine; coordination of service delivery, health maintenance, research, education, industry and culture; and Government support and mobilization of social resources to promote the development of TCM.
The strategy emphasizes the TCM development plan and coordination mechanisms with increased financial and policy support from government. The provision of TCM services will be enhanced by reforms of the insurance policy, regulatory measures and improved intellectual property protection. Government bodies and the private sector are actively encouraged to invest in TCM.
The integration of TCM services is to be guided by "four combinations": improving TCM knowledge and skills and improving herbal medicines; improving the quality of human resource and access to service facilities; generalizing standardized high-level accreditation while making allowance for special local situations and constraints; and lastly, ensuring a balance between the heritage of tradition and the contribution of innovation.
There is an attempt to preserve the value added by TCM while actively utilizing modern science and technology to improve TCM. This is not done only with regard to the domestic health care market. While TCM has a prominent role within China (for example, the sale of Chinese Medicine in 2009 accounted for 30% of domestic medicine market), its use in the rest of the world is rapidly expanding, and the export of Chinese Medicine has been increasing in the last decade.
Traditional Chinese Medicine in China is far from a marginal activity referring to the past. Rather, it is a major component of Chinas health care system in terms of supply and uptake of services, in terms of expenditure, and in terms of meeting the expectations of the population. The degree of integration of TCM in the overall national health care delivery system perhaps makes it easier to quantify its importance within health care delivery system than in countries which arrangements are less formal. The globalization of the various conceptions of medicine - conventional, traditional, complementary/alternative - adds urgency to the documentation of their weight in the system.
These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs and their ability to help.
Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Traditional Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC, focusing on Female Infertility with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London.
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